HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – The Houston Rockets return to Toyota Center Saturday night for a Western Conference showdown, playing host to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The Rockets (8-5) had a three-game win streak snapped on Wednesday as they blew an 18 point lead in a 123-120 road loss to the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks outscored the Rockets 36-19 in the final period. Shawn Marion’s three-point jumper with 47 seconds remaining gave the Mavericks their first lead since the game’s opening basket.
Dwight Howard played one of his best games as a Rocket with 33 points and 11 boards, but the Rockets couldn’t find a defensive answer for Monta Ellis who poured in 37 points for the Mavericks.
The Rockets returned to work on Friday to prepare for the Timberwolves and had a familiar face stop by.
At practice Friday, the Rockets were visited by longtime assistant coach and GM Carroll Dawson. Dawson and Kevin McHale worked with Dwight Howard on post moves with owner Les Alexander in attendance as well.
“He’s worked with a lot of great players and he’s part of the fabric of this organization so it’s great to have him here,” McHale said.
“CD’ just a good teacher of the game of basketball. He’s a great resource for us”
Howard, the leagues leading rebounder with 13.7 boards per contest, will have the leagues number-two man in rebounds Kevin Love to compete on the glass with tonight. Love, who plays at the power forward spot, is also the NBA’s fourth leading scorer at 24.8 points per game.
Minnesota (8-6) have proven to be the Rockets’ equal in terms of team inconsistency. The Wolves enter the game coming off an impressive 111-81 victory at home against Brooklyn after losing their previous two games. While the Wolves hold victories against top teams like Oklahoma City and Dallas; they also have loses to below .500 teams Washington, Cleveland and the L.A. Lakers.
The Rockets (109.7) and Timberwolves (107.3) are ranked first and second respectively in the NBA in points per contest. However, the Rockets are 29th in the 30 team NBA in points allowed at 105.9. The Timberwolves are middle of the pack in points allowed 99.2 points per contest.
The T-Wolves are led by former Rockets coach Rick Adelman who posted a 193-135 record in four seasons on the bench for Houston. Adelman led the Rockets to their only playoff series victory since 1997 during the 2008-09 season and was on the bench during Houston’s amazing 22 game win streak.
Follow Alex Del Barrio on Twitter: @ADBSportsguy
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